Beyond the bedroom door

Even if we were the type who frequently had people over, which we aren’t, not many of those people would make it up to our bedroom. As a society, we tend to stop using the phrase “Want to see my bedroom?” around the age of 10 and then again shortly after college.

At most, the bedroom might be where the guests pile their coats or where you escape to for a tearful tête-à-tête after the hostess makes a sidelong remark about the brandied raisins you brought. (“Brandied raisins would be my favourite thing if it weren’t for the raisins.”)

Generally, though, we shy away from the so-called master bedroom because it’s considered to be a private place. You know, that’s where stuff happens, and you’d hate to stumble upon, you know, things or, like, manuals or, heaven forbid, exercise equipment that’s been ignored for 16 months.

At our house, specifically, since you asked, it would be, of course, “The cats… My god, the cats…!”

But the cats aren’t the only ones who make themselves at home in our bedroom. While friends and neighbours might shy away, our children like to hunker down from time to time. Abby, our youngest, particularly likes to settle in for a good ol’ chinwag. She’ll come upstairs, see Deb snuggled up with a book or a cat or five, and she’ll plunk herself down on the edge of the bed and chat for the next hour or so. And that’s how Deb finds out everything that’s going on and why her library books are always overdue.

Abby is living away from home now, but she’s home most weekends. I’ve always liked this age when our kids have finished high school and they’ve become very close to being humans. They still have a long way to go – for instance, they think they know how to drink but they’re wrong – but you can start to have real conversations with them that don’t involve what they can’t do or shouldn’t tattoo on their face. As young adults, they actually seem interested in you, an old adult. You’d think they’d be horrified at the prospect ahead of them, and yet they seem quite certain that they will never get there.

I also enjoy our children’s friends at this age. Everyone is suddenly… cool. That’s exciting. For me. Because I’m suddenly cool. How do I know this? I just do, shut-up!

So when Abby was home last Saturday, I was perfectly cool when she asked late in the evening whether two of her friends from her old high school – a school I work at – could sleep here; their original plans had fallen through.

(In case you’re wondering why I was the one who okayed it, Deb deferred to me since I knew these boys and could verify they weren’t psychopaths or Conservatives. I was at least half certain.)

“If they’re hungry,” I told Abby, “we have bagels.” Because that’s a cool food, right? And then I did the really cool Dad thing – got out of sight.

As we waited for them to arrive, Deb and I settled into bed with our books. It was late. Fine: it was 10:30, but it had been a busy day! It was cool in the house because it was September and we don’t turn on the heat until February, so I still had my bright red sweatshirt on. I propped up a pillow and crawled under the blankets.

Before long, we heard the boys come in. I did not hear any bagels come into play, which was a concern, but otherwise Abby seemed to have everything in hand. Eventually, they made their way upstairs, and, down the hall, they rock-paper-scissored over who got the bed and who got the air mattress.

And then they were in our bedroom.

“Hi, sir. Thanks for letting us stay.”

“You’re welcome,” I said. They’re in my bedroom. “What happened with your original plans?” Kids from school. “Are you hungry?” Should I mention the bagels? “Are you allergic to cats?” What else do we have lying around? “Well, have a good night.”

If I’d been lying on top of the blankets, that would have been one thing, but I was right underneath, with a red sweatshirt on. I was essentially modern-day Carl Reiner. I realized then that the thing you don’t want to see in the bedroom… is me.

The bedroom is a weird place to have a conversation, even with recently humanized high school graduates who are simply doing the polite thing. Or maybe I was the only one who felt weird. Who’s to know? My only wish is that they had seen me as cool instead of what I really am: cold.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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18 Responses to Beyond the bedroom door

  1. Ha, ha…I like your description as “modern-day Carl Reiner!” Maybe they’ll think you’re “cool” if they find out you wrote about this?

  2. Claudette says:

    You made me spit out my coffee from laughing so hard at your first paragraph! lol

    My 11yo brings her gal pals into our bedroom during the day to watch tv. Even if the bed is unmade, the laundry piled on top, crap everywhere…she feels perfectly comfortable to hang there with her friends. This feels WEIRD to me…which is why I kick them out. 🙂

  3. Lynn says:

    Oh Ross, there are so many things I love about this post! The best is picturing your attempt to be cool in your bright red sweatshirt, tucked under your covers! So, so funny. Thanks for the smile!

  4. pinklightsabre says:

    Yeah, it’s like the essence of their age (what keeps them young maybe) is the refusal to believe they’ll ever be anything like us. We’re like on the other side of this chasm. And in part, we’ve put ourselves there. With red sweatshirts. It’s weird! And they think they can like tattoo stuff on their face or pierce anything. ANYTHING!

  5. Sure you’re way cool. Bagels are indeed cool, and red sweatshirts in bed are ok by me, we never had the heat on until St. Andrew’s Day.
    Growing up, conversations and standard requisitions were done over the kitchen table, but serious treaty negotiations and petitions, especially appeals of wrongful decisions, took place in the bedroom. At a young age, my sister & I realized that if we waited until Dad was attempting to take a nap, we could obtain authorization for pretty much anything. We’d stretch out across the foot of the bed and chat, and when he began drifting off, we’d quietly ask about motorbikes, tattoos, dropping out of school, unusual pizza toppings, moving to Lapland, waterparks, whatever, and he’d acquiesce, in a legally binding mumble.
    And in those long-ago benighted times, the only computer in the house was in my parents’ bedroom, so they had to expect frequent guests. I’d just announce “Schoolwork! Group Project! Due Tomorrow!” and march in with my friends. My folks would pull a quilt over their heads and then we could watch Steve Irwin catch crocodiles. Or look up who the heck Carl Reiner might be.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I don’t know why I picked poor Carl Reiner. Maybe because he’s a gem.
      Car rides are also good for heart-to-hearts with teens.

      • Unless it’s the teen driving – when my sister is behind the wheel, the old folks don’t really talk, just mostly indulge in prayers, screams, and exaggerated flinching.
        Carl Reiner was in a ’60’s movie I like a lot, “The Russians Are Coming”

  6. beth says:

    I love everything about this post and so get it. oh no, it’s also triggered an embarrassing bedroom post for me! nothing lurid, just pure embarrassing. –

  7. Pingback: Beyond the bedroom door — Drinking Tips for Teens | My Blog

  8. I’ve had a few scandalous stolen kisses while picking out coats from a pile on the bed. I hadn’t thought of them for a long, long time. Isn’t that what great writing is supposed to do? Transform you to another place?

    10:30 *IS* late.

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